Marine Debris Program

Marine debris – or sea litter – is an environmental issue that affects marine animals and coastal environments worldwide.

Marine debris includes a wide range of plastic and non-plastic materials including straws, bottles, food packaging and fishing-related waste. Not only is it unsightly, but it has very dangerous and often fatal impacts on the wildlife that it comes into contact with, causing injury or even death through entanglement, drowning, internal injuries or starvation.

Our marine debris program began in 2010 in order to build knowledge of the types, amounts and locations of litter found in our oceans. The program is assisted by volunteers who help collect this important information.

The long-term goal is to understand the types of litter and where this marine debris is coming from, particularly impacting Gulf St Vincent, Yorke and Fleurieu Peninsulas and Kangaroo Island in South Australia. The information collected from the program contributes to informing the South Australian Single Use Plastic Ban (2021) and nationwide investigation and database into marine plastic pollution. The project is supporting the local waste reduction initiatives and the Commonwealth Marine Debris Threat Abatement Plan in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment (DAWE), CSIRO and Green Industries South Australia.

If you would like to volunteer your time to be part of our marine debris program, please contact Dr Kristian Peters, marine debris program manager.

Looking for more information?

Explore our marine debris online database to find the locations and types of marine debris and plastic pollution.

Or, download our Marine debris survey information guide.


Learn more in our Marine debris in the Gulf St Vincent bioregion report.

Useful links

Click on the map to view the marine debris database

Program partners

Marine Debris program partners

Green Adelaide is participating in the National Plastic Pollution Portal project that is being developed by CSIRO in partnership with the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment, and Water (DCCEEW). Participation includes sharing data to help create a national picture of plastic pollution. We are also in consultation with CSIRO and DCCEEW around the portal uses and functions. Learn more.